Remembering Madeline Kingsbury: One year later


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(ABC 6 News) – Sunday marks the one year anniversary since 26-year-old Winona mother, Madeline Kingsbury, was reported missing.

RELATED: Police ask residents for signs to help locate missing Winona woman

A Facebook group, Finding Madeline Kingsbury, created by Maddi’s loved ones after her disappearance, posting Sunday, saying in part:

“It seems like this has just been a 365 day long nightmare waking and sleeping and we’d all like to get up. But then, we realize that, yes, by God, it is real and play these parts we must to see this incredibly ugly business through, for Madeline especially, but not for her alone. There are so many other potential victims of just the same sort of violence out there in our broken world. Speaking Madeline’s name, giving her a voice by telling her tragic story, and demonstrating that there are consequences for these terrible acts so perhaps some of it could be avoided for someone else, their families and their children is the best way we can honor her now.”

Maddi’s sister, Megan Kingsbury, also posting to Facebook, saying in part:

“There are absolutely no words to describe the level of immense grief myself and my family are trying to work through. The events related to Madeline’s death over this past year have been excruciating, and they are memories I’d rather forget – but they are burned into my mind.”

Everyone who knew Maddi describes her as a shining light to be around, who was always there for the people she cared about.

“She embodied what it meant to be a kind, loving and empathetic person,” said Maddi’s friend Arden Heath. “Any time with her was special.”

Maddi’s friends and family were immediately worried when she suddenly stopped responding to messages on the morning of March 31, 2023.

“I know Maddi, she wouldn’t leave her kids, she wouldn’t just up and walk away,” said Maddi’s friend Lauren DeBois. “We had had previous conversations about if there were ever a time she were to disappear, that something was wrong.”

It wasn’t just those close to Maddi who began looking for her; entire communities immediately leapt into action.

RELATED: Nearly 2,000 volunteers search for Madeline Kingsbury, another search planned for Saturday

Nearly 2,000 people from across the state came together to help bring Maddi home, and bring the Kingsbury family the closure they deserved.

“It was easy for me to do. I knew a lot of the terrain, and how rough it was gonna be. It was my way of helping the family and the friends,” said Mabel firefighter Rick Aske, who led multiple search efforts in Fillmore County.

As DeBois reflected on those months searching for her dear friend, she recalls there was no time for emotions, just focusing on finding Maddi.

“I don’t think there’s anything that would prepare me or anyone else to be knee-deep in a river, looking through dumpsters to possibly find your friend,” said DeBois.

On June 7, 2023, months of searching and pleas to help light the way home for Maddi would come to an end, when her body was discovered by Fillmore County deputies along Highway 43 north of Mabel.

RELATED: Police: Autopsy results confirm human remains found near Mabel are that of Madeline Kingsbury

“It took the air out of my lungs, like I just, I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t scream,” said DeBois.

“I think in some way, it just offered closure,” said Heath. “There was also some glimmer of hope that you kind of hold onto, or at least I did. I was like, you know maybe I’ll just I’ll show up at a gas station somewhere, I’ll see her in passing, be like oh my god there you are! I really wanted a different outcome.”

Shortly following the discovery of Maddi’s body, her ex-boyfriend and father of her two children, Adam Fravel, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, with and without intent.

RELATED: Adam Fravel, charged in murder of Madeline Kingsbury, moved to Olmsted County Adult Detention Center

In October, the Winona County Attorney would upgrade those charges to include two additional counts of first-degree murder after a grand jury indictment.

RELATED: Adam Fravel charges upgraded to first-degree murder

Even with Maddi found, and suspect charged in her death, the people of southeast Minnesota continue to rally around the Kingsbury family.

In August, Aske ran in his firefighter gear to raise over $4,200 for Maddi’s family.

RELATED: 5K raises funds for skin cancer research and Madeline Kingsbury’s kids

“It was an easy way for me to make some money and hopefully help out with anything the family needs for the kids,” said Aske.

Mindy Jasnoch, owner of Savings Surplus of Winona, uses her business to sell Justice for Madeline Kingsbury merchandise, created by Maddi’s sorority sisters. 100% of all proceeds go to Maddi’s family and their legal fees.

“We will try to help and continue to help in any way we can. The stickers are for domestic violence awareness, to be able to help people or let people know that there is help,” said Jasnoch.

Through the tragedy of Maddi’s death, her friends, family and community hope by carrying on with advocacy work to support victims of domestic violence, they can honor the loving and caring person Maddi was.

“We’re doing what Maddi would’ve wanted, is to help other people that may be going through a similar struggle as she did,” said Heath.

Maddi’s loved ones hoping that will be her legacy.

“I hope that everybody feels Maddi’s love and kindness through the stories that are told about her,” said DeBois. “I hope everyone learns something from her story.”

The next omnibus hearing for Adam Fravel is scheduled for April 30, where the court will discuss the possibility of moving the trial outside Winona County.

RELATED: Court eyeing fall 2024 trial date for Kingsbury murder case

If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, help is available.

You can call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233. It’s open 24/7 and can connect you to resources that can help.